The top ten richest people in Europe
Today, the 20 richest people on the planet are worth a staggering $1.2trn. As the divide between the rich and the richer widens and fortunes stack up, we take a look at Forbes’ ‘The World’s Billionaires’ list to find out the richest people in Europe and how they got there...
10.) Stefan Quandt
German billionaire Stefan Quandt is one of the richest men in Europe thanks to his stake in automotive giant BMW. Quandt owns 23.7% of the luxury car market whilst his sister, Susanne Klatten, owns 19.2%. Additionally, he also has shares in homeopathic medicine firm Heel, digital security company Gemalto, and logistics business Logwin. He has a net worth of around $22bn, according to Forbes.
9.) Giovanni Ferrero
Inheriting his family’s $13bn confectionery empire in 2015, Giovanni Ferrero is now one of the wealthiest businessmen in Europe. The Italian businessman controls Ferrero Group, the world’s second-largest chocolate maker, which is best known for its Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Nutella spread and Tic Tac mints. Ferrero is executive chairman of the company and has a net worth of around $23bn. In January, he helped ink a deal with Nestle to acquire the company’s US confectionery business for $2.8bn.
9.) Dietrich Mateschitz
Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz made his fortune by co-founding energy drink company Red Bull with Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya. Last year, over 6.3bn cans of Red Bull were sold worldwide, which is enough to provide caffeine to more than 80% of the planet. Today, he holds around 49% of the world’s largest energy drink maker. Today, Forbes estimates that Mateschitz has a net worth of around $23bn.
7.) Susanne Klatten
The richest women in Germany, Susanne Klatten, owns 21% of BMW, the world’s largest maker of luxury vehicles. Meanwhile, her brother Stefan Quandt (who also features on the Forbes’ billionaires list), owns 23.7%. The automotive company owns brands including BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce. As well as this, Klatten also has shares in chemical company Atlana, carbon producer SGL Group, and turbine developer Nordex and more. Forbes reports that Klatten has a net worth of $22.9bn.
6.) Georg Schaeffler
German businessman Georg Schaeffler is chairman and majority owner (80%) of Schaeffler AG, a major manufacturer of ball bearings and automotive supplies. His mother, Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler, owns the other 20%. The company generated about EU14bn in sales last year and it owns a partial stake in tyre giant Continental AG. Schaeffler has previously also served two years as a lieutenant in Germany’s Air Force reserves. According to Forbes Schaeffler has a net worth of around $25.3bn.
5.) François Pinault
With a net worth of around $27bn, François Pinault is also one of the richest business leaders in Europe. The French businessman is the founder of designer and luxury goods firm Kering, which owns brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. In 2017, the Paris-based business reported revenue of EU15.5bn ($17.5bn). Pinault also has a personal art collection of over 2,000 works including pieces by Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko.
4.) Beate Heister & Karl Albrecht Jr.
Heirs to the Aldi retail fortune, Beate Heister & Karl Albrecht Jr. have a net worth of around $29.8bn. They are the children of Karl Albrecht Sr. who founded the discount chain with his brother Theo Sr. in 1946 after they took over their mother’s store in Essen, Germany. In 1961, the founders split ownership of the company following a dispute over whether to sell cigarettes. Karl Sr. took the stores in in southern Germany plus rights to the Aldi brand in the UK, Australia and the US in what is now known as Aldi Sued. Meanwhile, Theo Sr. was responsible for Aldi Nord, with stores in northern Germany and the rest of Europe.
3.) Françoise Bettencourt Meyers & family
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers inherited the £79.3bn L’Oréal fortune following the death of her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, last year. Boasting a 33% stake in the world’s largest cosmetic maker, Bettencourt Meyers currently stands as the richest woman in Europe with a net worth of $42.2bn. She runs the family’s holding company as chairwoman. Today, L’Oréal owns makeup brands including Lancôme and Garnier with reported a revenue of $29.4bn in 2017.
2.) Amancio Ortega
By co-founding Inditex fashion group, best known for the clothing brand Zara, Amancio Ortega has cemented his position as the second richest man in Europe. He co-founded the company with his ex-wife, Rosalía Mera, in 1982, and today the company has around 7,500 stores around the world under brands like Massimo Dutti and Pull & Bear. A pioneer in fast fashion, Ortega has a net worth of around $70bn and owns around 60% of the company.
1.) Bernard Arnault
French business magnate, investor, and art collector Bernard Arnault tops the leaderboard as the richest person on the continent. As Chairman and CEO of LVMH – the world's largest luxury products group – Arnault overseas an empire of over 70 brands including Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Sephora. Thanks to record results at LVMH and a mega-deal to takeover Parisian fashion house Christian Dior, Arnault’s fortune has climbed by around $30.5bn over the past year. Today, Arnault has a net worth of around $72bn.
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